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STIR Cambridge

Stir Cambridge is a contemporary, functional and friendly cafe, providing a welcoming, relaxing and social community hub.

Stir Cambridge, owned by Matthew and Judith Harrison is a local café success story, for which Mystery developed the brand ID, graphic signage and collateral and interior design scheme.

Driven by a desire to fill a gap in their own locale of Chesterton for a much-needed top quality, original and family-friendly neighbourhood café, husband and wife team, Matthew and Judith set about realising their dream of creating a community coffee shop with a takeaway offer better than anything you’ll find in the centre of Cambridge.

They already had a clear idea of the personality of their café when they engaged Mystery to firm up the concept, create the brand ID and interior design.


Developing the Brand Personality

A functional, welcoming, relaxing, inclusive, friendly, contemporary, community hub.

“We wanted to create a local hub, serving the local community”, said Matt. “…with no Cambridge clichés or pretentiousness, just great coffee, great service and a relaxed atmosphere”.

The café needed to be accessible and welcoming to all locals, family and pet friendly, functional and comfortable. Somewhere to hang out with friends, on your own or with your pet pooch.

It was important to feel that all the customer’s needs were considered to create an environment that the locals really felt was created for them.  Everything from children’s play areas and chalkboard walls, laptop and phone charging points, outdoor dog clips, bike racks, loanable bike locks, outdoor blankets and indoor meeting spaces had to be considered as integral to the design.


Interior Design: Nordic industrial meets rustic

Head of Interiors, Sarah Mannerings worked very closely with owners throughout the whole process, sticking to their strategy, personality and brand vision as set out in the brief.

With the agreed concept of Nordic Industrial meets Rustic, we paired fresh and clean white walls with warm timbers, contrasted with industrial metals; soft colours, considered displays and upcycled furniture combined with modern, new pieces; a beautiful bespoke rustic wooden sales counter and a variety of different seating styles were created to suit all customers, young and old.  We also reused existing features such as the old timber back door to create a sense of authenticity and local heritage.

Attention was paid to the needs of all types of customers in order to maximize appeal and use: Big wide doors are perfect for buggies and prams, with easy to reach, low benches with cushions for comfort, a chalk board for kids to doodle, a noticeboard for community news and a full length window bar with high stools to sit and watch the world go by.

A separate back room with large long wooden tables was created to accommodate mothers’ groups and teams of rowers! It also serves the community by hosting anything from hatha yoga classes, to “knit ‘n’ natter sessions, baby / toddler art classes and local business presentations.

Free Wifi and plugs for laptops encourage students and locals alike to sit and chat or work.


Brand ID 

Judith and Matt were very clear about the personality of their brand and had shared some ideas for the logo as a starting point for Mystery’s design development.

As we had agreed on the Nordic industrial feel for the interiors, it made sense to take reference from Scandinavian design for the branding too - so the logo and typefaces used throughout the café and branding are similar to those used in modern Scandinavian design.

The spoon element within the logo for the 'i' was also based upon a typical Scandinavian carved wooden spoon.

Graphics throughout the restaurant have been applied in a tactile, hand-rendered fashion with sign written fascia and chalkboard graphics to give an informal, relaxed and interactive feel.

Since opening, Stir Cambridge has become a great local success story, establishing its place in the local community, by providing a welcoming, relaxing and social community hub.

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